First lady Jill Biden kicks off COVID-19 vaccine for kids campaign at historic Virginia school

Bill Oxford/iStock

(MCLEAN, Va.) — First lady Jill Biden is taking the administration’s push for child COVID-19 vaccinations on the road to Northern Virginia on Monday by visiting a school that is of historic importance in vaccinations in the U.S.

Biden, along with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, will visit Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C.

Franklin Sherman Elementary School was where the first polio vaccine was administered to children in 1954, according to the White House.

The visit is a step in the Biden administration’s push for youngsters to get the jab after the Food and Drug Administration granted full authorization to the vaccine in children ages 5-11, making more than 28 million American kids eligible for the vaccine.

In addition to visiting schools, the administration sent letters to superintendents and elementary school principals across the country on Monday, urging school officials to set up vaccination clinics in their schools.

“Schools play a vital role in providing access to and trusted information on the vaccine,” Health Secretary Xavier Becerra and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona wrote in the letter.

The schools themselves would not administer the vaccines, they would partner with a local vaccine provider, like a community health clinic or pharmacy, to give the shots to students. The schools would have access to federal cash from the American Rescue Plan to help with costs from providing spaces for vaccines and organizing the vaccine appointments.

The letter also asked schools to distribute information fact sheets, social media and emails to families in the schools. Officials said another way schools can help is by fostering community dialogue with existing organizations, like Parent-Teacher Associations.

“Parents rely on their children’s teachers, principals, school nurses, and other school personnel to help keep their students safe and healthy every school year,” Becerra and Cardona wrote in the letter. “The communications you issue – in languages accessible to your parents – will be critical in helping families learn more about the vaccine.”

Officials encouraged schools by pointing out that increased vaccinations could mean fewer cancellations of class and activities given outbreaks.

“Vaccination is the best tool we have to keep our students safe from COVID-19, maintain in-person learning, and prevent the closure of schools and cancellation of valued extracurricular activities,” Becerra and Cardona wrote in the letter.

ABC News’ Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.